In Genesis 22, we read how Abraham got ready for a difficult journey. He rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took along two of his servants, as well as his son. He did not forget about the wood needed for the sacrifice either. He may have trembled as his hand took the knife that would slay his beloved son.
Abraham did not hesitate. He could have procrastinated a bit before obeying the command given to him. He could have somewhat prolonged the days to be with his son yet a while longer. Yet in order to fulfill the call of God, he “rose early” (Genesis 22:3).
We too must “rise early” if we wish to heed God’s call. Obedience is the first step in following the Lord. It is deceiving to consider delaying it a bit, to enjoy life, to be with a loved one a while longer. If your attitude is to procrastinate and do it later, and you think you will follow the Lord wholeheartedly someday but not yet, then beware! A well-known proverb says that the way to hell is paved with good intentions. The “half way” path and the “do-it-later” road do not lead where we want to go.
Abraham had a three-day journey, and then he saw “the place afar off” (Genesis 22:4). If we go forward and in obedience do what God commands, then we too will see the glory of the Lord, even if from afar. In following Christ, we may not see the fullness of His glory right away, but as we travel the road in patient perseverance, God will allow us to have a glimpse of His glory. As Abraham was journeying with his boy, he buried many a hope and wish deep inside himself. If you follow the Lord in obedience without complaining and defiance, then you too will be able to lift up your eyes like Abraham and see God’s plan.
Abraham left his servants in the valley. He and Isaac journeyed the last portion to the mountain alone. Abraham took along the wood, fire, and knife. This was the final preparation.
We, too, must be prepared in order to bring a pleasing sacrifice to God. Look at Abraham. He left his servants behind. You may have to leave your best friends behind in order to sacrifice to the Lord. It is not easy to climb to the top of the mountain. The goal is lofty. The way before us can either go up, or it can go down. We can decide. Let us resolve to take along the wood, fire, and knife and, despite all temptation and obstacles, let us go ahead and upwards!
With each resolve according to God’s plan, our character will be strengthened, and we will be empowered to take the next steps. A successful life is not unhappy and unfulfilled. The higher the goal, the more satisfaction it brings. Go for the heights. Only by taking the right steps and going forward can the impossible become possible.
Then Isaac said: “My father . . . where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (Genesis 22: 7) Here is a question that hits the wounded heart with full force. Where is the sacrifice?
Dear reader, where is your sacrifice? What is it that wounds your heart? Where and what is your beloved Isaac? God has asked Isaac to be the sacrifice. Take your beloved Isaac and go to the top of the mountain. The Lord does not wish to have your sacrifice before your will is completely encompassed into the will of God in sweet harmony.
“God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8). That is the confidence of one who has triumphed over temptation. The temptation has been successfully overcome. The battle is over. The top of the mountain has been reached. Below lies the land of Canaan, the land given to the generations that follow.
How precious are the words of Paul, when we can say with him: “I have fought the good fight” (1 Timothy 4:7). Do you belong to those who have fought the good fight? Do you belong to those who have triumphed over temptation? The Promised Land lies before you. Yes, you will possess it. You will live because you have died. Here is the place where you too can build an altar. This place was called Moriah. Centuries later, Solomon built a temple for the Lord there, the holy place where God was to be among His people. You too can become a part of the temple of the living God.
“The Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven” (Genesis 22:11). The journey of Abraham is a drama that even the angels watched. They see your journey and your battle as well. They watch in order to assist you. It is the Father in heaven who watches your steps. He loves you and is greatly interested in you. He wants to form your character in order to reveal His secrets to you.
The faith and obedience of Abraham were so cherished by God that He gave him a glimpse into the mystery of God that was in place even before the world began. This mystery was so great that God even gave His own beloved Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Genesis 22 is the shadow seen because of the light of the Gospel. Abraham was given a glimpse into the heart of God.
“Because you have obeyed My voice” (Genesis 22:18), a promise was made to Abraham. Every command of God has the promise of a blessing. Abraham was told to look at the starry sky. The promise made to Abraham became a reality. God’s grace is as wide as the heavens. He can repay you a hundredfold for what you have given up for His sake and give you eternal life as well (Mark 10:29-30).
Abraham was given a glimpse of his natural inheritance. He saw his seed grow. He was told that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. That was the reward for being faithful. When he began his journey, he may have thought that God did not recognize his plight. Yet later he named the mountain “The-LORD-Will-Provide” (Genesis 22:14). Dear reader, take courage and go forward. It is worth giving your all to the Lord. God sees you. The promise that “in My Father’s house are many mansions” (John 14:2) is a promise for you.